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Solva Woollen Mill opens first retail store

Solva Woollen Mill has woven the threads of its growth plans with the opening of its first dedicated retail store in Pembrokeshire after securing six figure funding from NatWest.

Husband and wife Tom and Anna Grime, who own the mill which was built in the 1900s have used the finance from the bank to purchase and transform a former police station into a fit for purpose retail space.

Located in St David’s the new store will stock a selection of the mill’s traditionally woven rugs and carpets, as well as a variety of wool-based items, meeting increased customer demand for its high-quality handmade products.

Part of the local history, Solva Wollen Mill was founded in 1907, when the woollen trade was a key part of Pembrokeshire’s economic prosperity and is now only one of two functioning mills remaining in the region.

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Tom’s parents Robert and Cynthia bought the business in 1986 and he quickly learned the trade working part time at the mill. He and his wife then took over the business in 2008 and employ a team of eight people. Around five new full time and seasonal retail jobs will be created now the store has opened.

Tom said: “Solva Woollen Mill has been a part of the region’s history for more than a century and as a family business, we are proud that it will remain part of the local landscape for years to come. We currently have a small retail space at the mill, but an increase in sales and a general upsurge in demand for natural local products, means we now require further space in which to sell our products. The funding from NatWest has enabled us to purchase our first dedicated retail space and allow us to transform a former unused building into something which will have a positive impact on the local area, bringing in income and creating new jobs.”

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The deal was referred to NatWest by broker development manager at Clever Lending, Ben Davey and Huw Simpkins, relationship manager at NatWest helped Tom and Anna secure the finance required.

Huw said: “Tom and Ann have a unique business model in an idyllic location and since taking over the business in 2008 they have seen it grow from a traditional mill into a strong retail business. The funding will enable them to take their growth plans forward and I wish them the best of luck with their new store.”

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